Stocks Slammed! Dow Plunges More Than 600 Points

Stocks Slammed! Dow Plunges More Than 600 Points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 300 points in early trading, pulled down by big drops in Caterpillar and 3M.

There have also been disappointing quarterly earnings from several big-name companies, worldwide condemnation of Saudi Arabia - a major oil producer - over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and concerns that the US-China trade war is causing the global economy to slow down. Texas Instruments, a major chipmaker, slumped 8.2 percent and AT&T fell 8.1 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 4.4 per cent on Wednesday, the most in more than seven years, erasing nearly $US33 billion ($47 billion) from the fortunes of technology's 61 richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The benchmark S&P 500 lost 3.1 per cent, marking its sixth straight day of losses.

The rate increase, by a quarter of a percentage point, took the bank's overnight interest rate to 1.75 per cent, still well below the "neutral" rate of 2.5-3.5 per cent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 254 points, or 3.4 percent, to 7,182.

On Wednesday, data showed sales of new US single-family homes fell to a near two-year low in September, the latest sign that rising mortgage rates and higher prices were hurting demand for housing. But while the results topped expectations, analysts were disappointed the company did not raise its full-year forecast.

Several big companies were falling Wednesday after reporting disappointing quarterly results.

The two countries are locked in a dispute over US allegations that China steals USA technology and forces USA companies to share trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 0.3 percent to $76.67 per barrel in London.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and 86 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 364 new lows. AT&T, however, reported a 7.5 percent drop in quarterly results. While S&P 500 companies are expected to deliver 21.9 percent earnings growth for the third quarter, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, investors are concerned about future growth amid rising inflation, interest rates and uncertainty over trade. Halliburton lost 4 percent to $34.95.

Energy stocks declined despite the pickup in USA oil prices. Anadarko Petroleum gained 1.2 percent to $61.10. Natural gas declined 1.4 percent to $3.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sank 3.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 112.51 yen from 112.47 yen on Tuesday. It's shares rose 1.4%. It was down 227 points, or 0.9 percent, to 25,089. Copper dropped 1 percent to $2.76 a pound.

The US stock decline was preceded by a sharp sell-off in Asia, where China's Shanghai Composite declined 2.26 percent and Japan's Nikkei plunged 2.67 percent.

The Dow lost 462 points, or 1.8 percent, to 24,853.

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